Saturday, December 7, 2013

Caramel-Walnut Star Cookies Recipe


Toasted nuts

I chopped the nuts after I toasted them


This was easier then I thought it would be.  I just followed the directions on the back of the chocolate chips.
Cooked and glazed
I made these today.  Not sure if I would make them again.  They are a lot of work.  The dough is really dry.  I wrapped it in plastic wrap and squeezed it a bit.  I always roll out my cookie dough with powder sugar instead of flour.  The caramel glaze is a little tricky.  I have been meaning to buy a small whisk.  That would have helped.  The recipe does not say how to toast nuts.  I toasted them for almost 10 minutes in the oven and kept shaking them.  I was so afraid of burning them. I only had 22 cookies.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 15 min./batch + chilling
MAKES: 24 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ChoppedWalnuts, toasted
  • 24 Walnut Halves
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk and vanilla, then walnuts.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a 3-in. star-shaped cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Press a walnut half in the center of each. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  3. Spread bottoms of cookies with melted chocolate. Place chocolate side up on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until set.
  4. For glaze, in a small saucepan, bring brown sugar and butter to a boil. Cook and stir 30 seconds. Remove from the heat; cool 5 minutes. Whisk in milk until smooth. Stir in confectioners' sugar. Immediately drizzle over top of cookies. Let stand until set. Yield: 2 dozen.
To Make Ahead: Dough can be made 2 days in advance. Iced cookies can be stored for 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature or frozen for up to 1 month.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

North and South the miniseries

I am a sucker for mini series.  I seen this coming up on the Sundance channel so I DVR'd it.  I thought I would watch just for the beautiful dresses and pretty rooms.  Imagine my surprise when one of the main characters turns out to be Patrick Swayze dressed like a southern gentleman in some heart pounding tight pant.  Oh and the ladies have some really nice dresses and there are some pretty rooms too.
So dirty!
Does this need a caption?
There are better ones of his pants then this one but  couldn't get them to download.
His face is really nice too!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


First are some pics of some cupcakes.  I won some really awesome Halloween cake decorations last year on Insomniac's blog (best blog ever).  Stupid me did not reply in time to use for Halloween.  My co-workers and their kids went crazy over the cupcakes.  A couple of the kids loved them so much their teeth were black for homecoming pictures (mom was mad).  Just goes to show a little thought goes a long way (note to self be nicer).  Insomniac wait to you see how I use the things you gave me for Christmas.
 Front porch is fun for the kids.  My theme is a witch whatever.  
I dragged the wood for this shelf out of my neighbor's trash.  You cannot see it but on the top shelf is a jar for a pickled baby I made up myself.  It is a work in progress (I hope it turns out to be very disturbing).  And a human brain packaged like a steak (dollar store Love It)! 
There is a spider to the right of the door it is sound activated (scared the poop out of the landscaper he ran across the street).  We have had a lot of fun with it. They are everywhere.  Get one.
The hand and eyeballs are from the dollar store but served on pretty plates (same plates I will use for Thanksgiving).   The cute sign is from the dollar store.  The candelabra is from Micheal's (I talked them down on this).  You can pay a lot for this item so watch out don't pay more than $15 I think I got it for under seven.  I don't want to pay much since it stays outside.   My work friend's boyfriend threw her a surprise B-day party with a True blood theme and she gave me one of the True Bloods he made for the party (they were strong I re-named it True Buzz because I always refer to them as TB) 

Monday, May 27, 2013

"The White Garden" spring

Last year I started my white garden named "Pure Enchantment."    I also wanted to plant a sister garden with black plants and call it "Ancient Enchantment."  The white one is coming along with some set backs.  I started the garden at the height of a drought.  I sort of lost my splurge plant a hydrangea tree.  It appeared to be dead so I took off the plastic that was around it and low and behold there was some life.  It will be a bush now so maybe I will move it.  My Rose of Sharron did not make it.  I have replaced it with a rose.  I planted a bunch of tulips and daffodils.  I planted them in the front.  I don't like them.  They are ugly once they are done blooming.  The daffodils were suppose to be white and most of them came up yellow.  All and all spring not being the best time of year for the garden, I'm happy with it.  As for Ancient Enchantment, I am just planting a bunch of stuff on the side of my house with the plan on moving it later.  It's not going to good.  I need to commit to it.  I have a crazy idea for it.  I like Mother Mary but my husband likes Santa Muerte.  He wants a shrine to her in the Ancient Enchantment garden.  I don't think its a good idea.  I admit it would look super cool and I have thought of dressing up like that for Halloween but at the very least, I think its bad karma and the worse demonistic.  Since I can't even seem to grow a dark flower, I am not going to over think it.  Maybe if I just get gargoyles he will forget about Santa Muerte.
You can see the dead hydrangea tree


I am thinking about moving the urn and planting something in the corner behind the viburnum.
I don't have this.  I wanted it so bad.  I went to a store called Old Time Pottery because it was in their add.  They only had 3 in the whole store and were long gone by the time I got there.  I hate when stores do this!

I have this one instead.  It was super cheap at Aldis.  I have it by the White Garden.  Not sure if it works.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring assignment: Whiter and Lighter

I am  participating  in Ms Misantropias Whiter and lighter assignment.  This comes at a perfect time for me.  I always like to lose some weight before my birthday.  I can't do anything about getting older but maybe I can do something about my weight.  My husband was the one that kept saying we are going on diets and he had this crazy diet in mind that I am not a fan of.  I have been on all kinds of diets.  Cabbage soup for 7 days, potatoes covered with this dry stuff you add water too, popcorn bars, grapefruit diet, stripping down to bra and panties and being weighed in front of someone (which works) but you have to pay them and they want good money for that etc..

So I cannot zip my jeans without laying down.  In  pure desperation I am doing his diet.  He is not.  He kept giving me one excuse after another.  Its my birthday, I just made a batch of sausage, you just bought 2 cases of beer.  Enough I am doing it.  It is way cheaper then buying new clothes.  I have lost 7 pounds so far!  I am no longer laying down to zip my pants.  I even cheat a little on the weekends and I am still losing weight.

The hardest part for me is the beer.  People that read my blog know how much I love Wisconsin.  Fortunately I work in Wisconsin.  One of the best everyday beers in the world can be bought there.  That beer is Spotted Cow.  I guess it really is a Cask conditioned ale.  Not sure what that means I just seen it on their website.  I love it so much I might write a poem to it.  Ode to Spotted Cow.  That's all I have so far.  Spotted Cow is made in the fair town of New Glarus.  America's Little Switzerland.  The town is adorable.  Life is to short to quit beer altogether.  I have been only drinking one or two a weekend.  This is much better then what I was doing which was one or two a night.  No wonder I had to lay down to get dressed.
I just found this and had to share  You just put in your town and find beer.  They rate the beer too. 

I had to add this photo when I seen it

Friday, March 22, 2013

The 10th Kingdom

I was updating my profile and there was a section about your favorite movie and I remembered this one.  I loaned my copy of this wonderful mini series and not exactly sure to who.  I miss it.  We use to watch it over spring break because its really long.  I think I am going to look for it on eBay.  If you ever get a chance to watch it, do it.  I won't say to much about it because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.  Its a fairytale that is a little twisted.  That's all I will say.  I don't want to spoil it for you.
The trolls are great

  of course there is true love

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Professor's Monthly Homework Assignment - Spring!

I love spring.  The only thing I love more is full blown summer but that is another blog.  I love pastels.  There I’ve said it.  I love pastels and I am not ashamed.  I love Easter because of the pastel colors.  As a young girl I thought the most beautiful thing was the color baby blue paired with baby pink,  I pinned a brave woman’s hair in those exact colors on my pinterest and that has gotten the most repins of anything I have ever put on it?  I don’t even know what all this means.  I guess it is not the coolest thing in the world that you love the smell of the Easter candy isle at Wal-Mart which is huge and pastel colors of the Easter baskets.  Everything is a baby at Easter.  Bunnies, chick’s cute human babies dressed as bunnies and chicks.  I use coco butter for my daily body lotion and have been told I smell like Easter candy.  Which I take as a compliment.     

I Think spring is the perfect time for carrot cake.  I make a carrot cake that is my specialty.  This has not always been the case.  When my children were young I use to have family birthday parties for them.  On one such occasion I made a carrot cake from a box mix.  My mother takes one bite of it and immediately spits it out which results into a domino effect of everyone else refusing to eat the cake and discussing how it does not remotely resemble carrot cake.  I suppose another mother and another family would have politely thrown the cake away and kept completely silent about how awful it was.  This would not have resulted into carrot cake being my specialty. 
I like to think of myself ahead of the times and a real trendsetter.  The reality of it is I am a day late and a dollar short of the trends and times.  That being said I have decided to make my carrot cake into cupcakes.  I think I read somewhere cupcakes are out.  Macaroons in.  Stay tuned.  I will probably have macaroons on this blog two years from now.  I don’t really get the whole cupcake craze?   I am old enough to thinking of cupcakes of the thing that I did as a room mom (which I am sure that now days they call it something way more deep and meaningful then that like maybe Angle mom who knows?) so the whole cupcake trend that has come and gone is really wasted on me.  But lucky for you bloggers here is goes.  My attempt at turning my favorite cake into cupcakes.

I think every woman has her go to cookbook.  Mine is Better Homes and Gardens.  In my opinion everyone else is pretty much the same with some slight tweaking.  Kind of like build a better mousetrap thing.  My carrot cake is theirs with some tweaking.  You can almost take any favorite cake recipe and convert it to
cupcakes.  Cook at the same temperature but for 1/3 to ½ the amount of time.  I cooked my cupcakes at 350 for 22 minutes but do a toothpick check at 19 to be safe.  Also for cupcakes switch places in the oven with the two muffin tins and turn them at 14 minutes, a mistake I made was not to use muffin liners.  I had every holiday but Easter.  After the fact my husband said why didn’t you just use the other holiday and pull them off?  Don’t you hate the logical male mind sometimes?  My plan was to use some cupcake wraps.  I did find some really cute ones on line to print but my computer went down and I was done and just wanted to clean up.  I did have a few pastel color muffin liners for my photo shoot.  It is really hard for me to say photo shoot with a straight face. 

Best-Ever Carrot Cake: directions for layer cake
Prep time: 30 minutes Bake:  350 Cool 2 hours makes 12 servings (or almost 24 cupcakes I made 22)

4 beaten eggs 2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional) I use it
½ tsp baking soda
3 cups finely shredded carrots (lightly packed) *
¾ cups cooking oil* 
2 tsp vanilla (secret ingredients)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz package cream cheese
½ cup butter or margarine (real leery of margarine in frosting)
2 tsp vanilla
5 ¼ to 6 ¼ sifted powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar beating well.  Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.  Makes enough for a layer cake or way more then enough for a sheet cake which is all I make because I need it for a crowd.  If you are doing a sheet cake, you can half the frosting recipe.  Not sure how much for cupcakes since it went terribly wrong.  For my photo shoot (still funny) not sure since the 3 cupcakes in the photo I used a pastry bag, the frosting went quick.  If you use a knife to frost them, it goes really far I think you can half the recipe if just frosting the cupcakes with a knife.  There is nothing wrong with having extra cream cheese frosting (thinking Cinnabon cinnamon rolls in the morning.)  Tons of copy cat recipes using your bread machine for the dough recipes out there.  I have one if you need itOnce again dating myself.  My new much younger friends know nothing about the whole bread machine craze.
I use to always use store bought frosting.  I have noticed a change in some of my old favorites of everything. (Don’t get my started on chocolate bars and gram crackers. S’mores is forever ruined for me) something is going on.  I will admit it really could just be me and my aged taste buds but I don’t think so.  So for the first time ever I am making my own.  If you think store bought in the cute tub works I say go for it.  Making homemade frosting is a pain.  It is messy.  Is it good?  Yes but if you think store bought is good and like it then go for it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker

Since sometime middle January there have been so  many over priced cheesy gifts for men to buy for women for Valentines Day.   One of them are Sherry's Berries.  They are beautiful and good for Sherry making a honest living but my husband being practical (cheap) could not believe the $50 price for them.  "I can make those why cheaper that's crazy"  So my daughter and I at the same time "Make those for us for Valentines Day!"  What could he say?  Then yesterday I was at the salon getting my hair done and bragged about my husband making these for me.  One of the stylist said soak them in vodka first.  Genius!  My husband got involved with his prime rib so I made these myself.  All you do is soak the berries in vodka for 24 hours.  Drain and pat dry.  Melt the Bakers chocolate in the micro container that it comes in.  Just follow the directions which is heat 30 seconds stir repeat.  So easy and not messy.
Bought this on clearance.  I knew it would come in handy one day